Kalanchoe Daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)

Kalanchoe Daigremontiana also known as Devil’s Backbone or The Mother of Thousands is a houseplant that requires less care and has a unique appearance. If you’re looking for a houseplant since it has a unique appearance and requires very little care. Its native habitats may be found in the warmer regions of Madagascar, including the tropical and subtropical zones. Flowers can only be produced by the slow-growing mother-of-thousand plant if it is grown outdoors in places with warmer conditions, such as Florida and Hawaii. If you wish to plant it outdoors, you should hold off until the summer when the soil is warmer to do so. It is because of the numerous little plants that grow along the leaf edges that this low-maintenance houseplant is often referred to by its popular name. The duration of the maturation stage ranges from two to five years.

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Small, tubular, pinkish-gray, hanging blossoms occur on this plant during the beginning of the warm season when it is grown outside; the plant often reduces in size after blooming. These new plantings are not only a welcome addition to the collection, but they also make the process of reproducing Kalanchoe daigremontiana much simpler. The blooms of this variety of Kalanchoe aren’t nearly as stunning as those of other varieties of the genus.

Botanical NameKalanchoe daigremontiana
Common NameMother of thousands, devil’s backbone, alligator plant
Plant TypeSucculent
Mature Size3 ft. tall
Sun ExposureFull sun, partial shade
Soil TypeWell-drained
Soil pHAcid, neutral, alkaline
Bloom TimeWinter
Flower ColorGrayish-pink
Hardiness Zones9 to 11 (USDA)
Native AreaAfrica
ToxicityToxic to humans, cats, and dogs

Botonical Description of Kalanchoe daigremontiana

Leaves: Kalanchoe daigremontiana has leaves that are long and thin, with a pointed tip, and they may grow to be anywhere from 6 and 8 inches in length. The abundance of tiny plantlets around the edges of these leaves is what gives origin to the plant’s popular name, “Mother of Thousands.”

Blooms: Typically during the months of late winter and early spring, the plant will produce long flower stalks that are covered with tubular blooms that are a grayish-purple color.

Height: Mature plants may become as high as 1 meter (about 3 feet) in height.

Growth Habit: This plant has a propensity to have an upright growth habit, and it often has a single stem that does not branch off.

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Kalanchoe daigremontiana Care

The tenacity, resistance to drought, and capacity to endure high temperatures are all hallmarks of the Kalanchoe daigremontiana. It is not going to be successful in locations that are more temperate or chilly. It is often cared for as a straightforward houseplant species.

Light The mother of thousands should be kept in a well-lit area of your house, where it will get at least a few hours of daylight each day. To prevent the leaves from being scorched by the direct and powerful afternoon sun, you should place them where they will get indirect light.

Soil Your Kalanchoe daigremontiana, like the majority of succulents, will need a potting medium that is well-drained. This plant does not do well in conditions where water may pool around its roots. A lot of people who are interested in cacti and succulents use cactus mix, while others add sand or perlite to regular potting soil. It is recommended to use a clay pot since this kind of container may assist in absorbing excess moisture and direct it away from the plant.

Kalanchoe daigremontiana Care
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The mother-of-thousand plant is drought-resistant, although not to the same extent as many species of succulents. It will perform much better if it is provided with consistent and steady hydration, particularly when it is in its growth season. Even in the spring and the heat of summer, it only has to be watered about once every several weeks. Should you forget every once in a while, it won’t be a significant issue.

When the top few inches of the soil have lost their moisture, you should then start watering the area again. If you gradually add water to the soil, you won’t run the danger of soaking the roots to an excessive degree. It is important to water less throughout the autumn and winter months. The leaves will go limp if you overwater them.

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Temperature and Humidity

The mother of a thousand plants thrives best in temperatures ranging from around 50 to 24 degrees Celsius. Check to ensure that it does not get an excessive amount of strong, direct sunlight. Before the temperature drops down below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to bring the plant back inside.

The mother of thousands and the majority of other Kalanchoe species are able to survive without the need for consistent fertilization.


The plant does not have any extra trimming needs; however, you will need to remove any dead stalks and plantlets that have fallen off.


It is easier to grow the mother-of-thousand plant from the plantlets that it produces rather than from the seeds that it generates. As the parent plant enters the period of dormancy that occurs throughout the winter, the plantlets are often ready to be removed. They will separate on their own, or you may take them from the leaf they are connected to if they are ready to detach without requiring a great deal of force from you. Place the plantlets on the surface of a potting medium that has good drainage but is still moist. This is where they will start to take root.


In most cases, the only circumstance in which you will need to do any repotting is in the event that fallen plantlets have started to establish roots in the container in which the mother plant is housed. These need to be dug out and thrown away, or else they should be transplanted in another container that has better drainage.

The Winter

During the winter, you should bring your mother of thousands inside. The temperature must be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the plant to be healthy. If you bring your plant inside, make sure it is not placed too near to a heater. The leaves are more susceptible to harm from direct heat, and the plant might experience premature drying out as a result.

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How to propagate Kalanchoe daigremontiana?

There is no doubt that despite its invasive nature, Mother of Thousands has a highly interesting reproductive system, which eventually makes it easy to propagate.

So, if you’re thinking of propagating your grown Kalanchoe, make sure it is mature enough. You will need to see if the plant started producing baby plantlets.

Pluck one or two plantlets and store them in a plastic bag, which will help keep them moist. Remember that if the stored plantlets dry up, they’ll die.

Next, prepare a pot for them and plant these plantlets gently on the soil. Do not push plantlets inside the soil and keep them 1 cm apart. Also, you need to plant them on the surface.

The next thing you need to do is cover your baby plantlet pot with plastic, and use cling film. Moreover, keep the plant moist and place the pot in a sunny area.

Once done, wait for baby plantlets to grow taller. However, when you notice that plantlets are somewhat taller, remove the plastic cover so that your plant can bask in the sun.

Although chances are slim, you will see purple-pink flowers sprouting if you provide the right growing conditions. When your succulent grows too big, move it to a bigger pot.

Note that you will need to be careful when transplanting Mother of Thousands, as their roots are fragile and vulnerable to damage. To prevent this, dig deep around the base to avoid causing harm to the roots.

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Pests and diseases

 Kalanchoe daigremontiana is resistant to disease and insects but if kept outdoors, could eventually be affected by aphids, scale, spider mites, and nematodes. Common symptoms include apart from insects themselves on the crossing of the stems or the undersides of leaves, the presence of honeydew on leaves, creased faded leaves and webs, or leaves that look torn or bitten. Prefer non-toxic treatments because the plants are very sensitive to certain ingredients used largely in insecticides widely used. If you decide to buy a chemical insecticide do tell the nursery that you are planning to use it on a plant.

Prevention Method

When thinking about chemical control, it is important to examine your country’s national list of registered pesticides or the competent government to find out which products may be used lawfully in your nation. This is because the legislation governing the registration and deregistration of pesticides varies from country to country. When using pesticides, one should always follow the directions on the product’s label and do it in a legal manner.

Control based on physical and mechanical factors

Pulling small infestations by hand is one option for removing them. Follow-up treatments are suggested until total control is achieved with this species (Queensland Government, 2011). This is due to the fact that this species creates seed banks. 

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Biological Methods

In order to achieve biological control of Kalanchoe species in Australia, the South African citrus thrip, also known as Scirtothrips aurantii, has been introduced. According to the Queensland Government (2011), thrips not only cause harm to the exterior tissue of Kalanchoe plants but also deposit their eggs below the outside tissue. According to Garms et al. (2013), owing to the polyphagy of the thrips under laboratory circumstances, vigilance is required prior to advocating usage for biological control. Despite this, Rafter and Walter (2013) provided evidence that in the wild, the host range of S. aurantii in Australia is limited to the Crassulaceae family.

Chemical Methods

For the management of Kalanchoe spp. in Queensland, registered herbicides include 2,4-D, which is applied at a rate of 70 ml/10 L water or 7L/1000L per hectare; fluroxypyr, which is applied at a rate of 600 ml/100 L water. According to the Queensland Government in 2011, it is suggested that follow-up treatments be administered until full control is achieved.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Kalanchoe Daigremontiana, also affectionately known as the Mother of Thousands or Devil’s Backbone, stands as a testament to the resilience and captivating beauty of succulent plant life. Hailing from the warm, sun-kissed regions of Madagascar, this houseplant offers a unique charm to both novice and seasoned gardeners. Its long, slender leaves adorned with countless miniature plantlets, which inspire its evocative name, make it a captivating addition to any botanical collection. With its relatively undemanding care requirements, it welcomes even the busiest of plant enthusiasts.

As we’ve learned, providing the right balance of light, well-draining soil, and mindful watering is key to its prosperity. Its ability to endure drought, coupled with its preference for indirect sunlight, makes it an ideal choice for those seeking low-maintenance green companions. However, it’s crucial to maintain a watchful eye during winter, ensuring the temperatures don’t dip too low, and to be cautious of overwatering.

Furthermore, the Mother of Thousands offers a fascinating journey in propagation. Its ability to generate numerous plantlets along its leaves simplifies the process of creating new plants. Patience and care are rewarded as these offspring flourish and grow, adding to the allure of this unique succulent.

Finally, when faced with pests or diseases, the Mother of Thousands displays a certain level of resilience but may require careful attention. Opting for non-toxic treatments and, in extreme cases, exploring physical, mechanical, biological, or chemical methods, allows for effective control while safeguarding its well-being.